We did what we normally do in our small group, which is to talk about our faith, share personal stories, and enjoy the company of each other. It was a beautiful fall evening, and maybe it was the beer, but I felt that warm, glowy sensation as we sat around the table and chatted.
I started to think about my dining room, and about our table in particular.
*photo of my table, decorated with a fall tablecloth and centerpiece:
I love my table. It's an old table of my in-laws' that was rescued from a shed on The Husband's grandma's farm. I spent a long time refinishing it, and even though it's not perfect, it works for us. I like to put pretty centerpieces on it:
*photo of the fall centerpiece:
I like to dress it up for Christmas:
*photo of the table decked out with a Christmas tablecloth and decorations:
But sometimes it's just a plain old mess. Stacks of papers clutter the clean lines of the table; cereal bowls full of milk and shriveled cheerios often replace my decorations. Usually you'll find a dog leash or a gym shoe sitting on it too.
I've often heard about the table being the cornerstone of family life, and how important dinnertime is with the family. We, like many other families these days, are running in a thousand different directions. One kid will have basketball practice and Confirmation class, while the other will have to work or go to play practice. We try our best to sit down together for dinner as often as we can. For a little while, at least, time slows down and we can enjoy each others' company.
I have fond memories of hilarious conversations that ended up with snorts of laughter that caused milk to come out of someone's nose. We play 'Would You Rather' and come up with obnoxious scenarios. One of them was something along the lines of "Would you rather eat pea soup off of an old man's beard or drink warm mayonnaise?" Something like that. Gross. Stories get told and retold at that table, and The Husband tells his eye-roll worthy jokes there. The TV is off, cell phones aren't allowed, and the dog sits at our feet, scavenging for dropped crumbs. We enjoy each other at our table.
It's been there for birthday celebrations:
*photo of Bumblebee with her friends on her 5th birthday:
*photo of The Boy with a birthday cake:
*photo of Hollwyood on her last birthday:
Even when the birthday celebrants aren't so enthusiastic about getting another year older:
*photo of The Husband flipping off the camera with a birthday cake in front of him:
The table's been a place to do homework. Sometimes Bumblebee even gets help from her big brother:
*photo of The Boy and Bumblebee doing homework together:
It's a place to eat a hearty breakfast before the first day of school:
It's been a place to carve pumpkins and be goofy:
*photo of Bumblebee with a lampshade on her head:
Some of my favorite memories in my dining room are of our large family gatherings, with dozens of people crammed around the table:
*photo of everyone crowded around for Nephew E's birthday cake:
*another photo of the gathering:
It's been a place for serious conversations. We've made life changing plans at our table, and talked about dreams and wishes there. We've broken bad news to one another around the table, and we've argued bitterly while sitting there.
It truly is the centerpiece of our home. If our table could hear what went on around it, I wonder if it would appreciate the crazy family that often gathers there. Especially this time of year, with the holidays approaching, I'm thankful for our table and what it means to this family.